Regent's Park Theatre London: timber performs perfectly

PEFC-certified cross laminated timber (CLT) takes centre stage at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre.

Regent's Park Theatre London: timber performs perfectly

22 July 2020 Sustainable construction

Regent's Park Open Air Theatre in London has used PEFC-certified cross laminated timber (CLT) to provide a stunning series of sustainable buildings.

Opened in the 1930s, the theatre undertook a re-development project in 2012, using CLT for a series of buildings designed by Haworth Tompkins Architects and erected by Eurban. A new backstage area was built, comprising an office block, dressing rooms, wardrobe area and workshops. At the front of the building, there was a new box office and sheltered seating canopy.

In 2018, Reed Watts Architects brought Eurban back on board to deliver a new two-storey building located in a very sensitive site within the royal park and conservation area. The new building provides 480 m2 of rehearsal, catering and administration space.

The specification of solid timber as the superstructure is a key part of the success of the design. CLT was specified not only for its wider environmental credentials, its aesthetic potential and its light weight, but also for its speed of assembly. Using CLT allowed for construction within the six-month window between theatre seasons.

A truly sustainable material

The CLT was manufactured in Austria by Stora Enso using spruce grown in sustainably managed forests. The glulam was manufactured by Pabst in a factory located close to Stora Enso.

All the material is PEFC certified and a total of 130 m3 of solid timber was used in the walls, floors and roof of the building. 

It takes only seven minutes for this volume of timber to be replenished by the sustainably managed Austrian forests. 95 tonnes of CO2 were removed from the atmosphere when the trees were growing and will be stored in the structure over its lifetime.

For the duration of the assembly of the solid timber structure, a crane was used to offload and distribute the materials around the site. CLT and glulam were offloaded directly from the lorries into position. 

With fewer deliveries coming to site there is improved safety at the site access, as well as reduced pollution in the surrounding roads, further proof of the benefits of this offsite method of construction.

Photo credits: Eurban, David Jensen/Regents Park OAT

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